Equity & Diversity

A diverse workforce which is free of discrimination and reflective of the NSW community is more innovative and productive, and better able to deliver high quality services.

In the NSW government sector, workforce diversity encompasses initiatives to:

  • build positive workplaces and provide  support for all employees
  • strengthen workforce planning capability to integrate workforce diversity strategies
  • build a workforce  which reflects the diversity of the wider community
  • achieve the Government’s broader social responsibility objectives.

Government Sector Employment Act 2013

Diversity in government sector, workforce management continues to be a priority under the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (GSE Act). The GSE Act preserves the focus on existing diversity groups (Aboriginal people, women, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with disability), but also provides flexibility to encompass a broader spectrum of diversity, including mature workers, young people and carers.

Under Section 63 of the GSE Act, the head of a government sector agency is responsible for workforce diversity within the agency and for ensuring that workforce diversity is integrated into workforce planning in the agency.

The Public Service Commissioner leads the strategic development and management of the government sector workforce in relation to equity and diversity, including strategies to ensure the sector reflects the diversity of the wider community. 

The GSE Regulation prescribes certain agencies and universities as government sector agencies, for the purposes of workplace diversity, and also deals with existing EEO plans.

The GSE Rules continue special arrangements for the employment of Aboriginal people, people with disability, and young people. This replicates the previous arrangements for 'Selection in special cases' in Clause 6 in the Public Sector Employment Management Regulation.

Workforce diversity priorities

The PSC is preparing further guidance on workforce diversity and its place in workforce planning for release in 2014.

Workforce planning is a continuous strategic process, which aligns an organisation’s workforce with its business objectives. The process involves forecasting the future business environment and identifying the expected future demand for workforce skills and capabilities.  

Integrating workforce diversity objectives, strategies and programs into workforce planning ensures that a direct link between business needs and the benefits of a diverse workforce is established and maintained.

The PSC will also be working with agencies in the lead-up to the next annual Workforce Profile collection to help implement strategies to increase workforce diversity survey participation.


This remains a priority strategy area at both NSW and Commonwealth government levels. The PSC is finalising research which will be promulgated across the sector in 2014, as part of the review of EmployABILITY: A strategy to increase employment opportunities for people with a disability in the NSW public sector.


The representation level of women in the NSW government sector is higher than in the NSW total workforce. However, women are under-represented in senior leadership roles and in certain trade or professional roles. These are areas of ongoing investigation in 2014.

Aboriginal employment and workforce development

The NSW Public Sector has exceeded the target of 2.6%, set by the Council of Australian Governments to be achieved by 2015. Whilst the current estimated representation level of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NSW public sector workforce is 2.74%, improving employment and career development opportunities for Aboriginal people in NSW remains a priority.